The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition is an independent research institution providing scientific expertise, partnership and resources to improve diet and physical activity behaviors among youth and their families to help grow a healthier next generation.
The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (formerly the Center for Human Nutrition) was established in 1973 by the late Gretchen Swanson as an independent nutrition center with global reach. In the early years, nutrition education was a dominant component of Center programming. This education was applied in projects to lessen the occurrence of diabetes among American Indians, present nutrition as prevention of chronic diseases to medical school students, to create awareness of nutrition and proper hydration in the minds of Olympic athletes and conduct pediatric clinical trials. More recently, the Center has moved into the area of public health, with an emphasis on childhood obesity prevention, food insecurity, local food systems, as well as survey development and evaluation.
Board of Directors
Edson L. Bridges III, CFA
President, CEO, Director
Bridges Investment Management
Frederick S. Bucholz
Kathy English, RN, MSN, MBA
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Timothy J. Burke
Customer Service and Public Affairs
Omaha Public Power District
Director, Benefit Solutions Operation Management
Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company
Dawn M. Gary, M.D.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center
Chief Financial Officer
Danielle S. Gordman
Mental Health Therapist
Martin Massengale, PhD
President Emeritus and Director,
Center for Grassland Studies
Grasslands and Educational Administration
University of Nebraska
Jessie K. Rasmussen
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
About Gretchen Swanson
The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition exists as the result of a quest for reciprocity. Gretchen Swanson was empowered to give back to society in a way that others only dream about. The Center is an infinite expression of her desire to make a difference in society and positively impact the lives of children, especially those who are underprivileged, through the food they eat. A woman ahead of her time, she was concerned about the negative effects of food access inequality in the early 1970s. She identified food insecurity and the gaps it creates in our communities long before food-justice terminology was “mainstream.” Her belief was simple: Every child, every person has a right to good, healthy food.
Gretchen Swanson saw her work with the Center not as a job but as “pursuing an intense interest.” Colleagues, family and friends have described her as smart, gracious, humble and a great observer. Independent, she was the first woman to sit on several boards of directors in the areas of banking and nutrition.
Gretchen Swanson was the daughter of Carl and Caroline Swanson. Carl Swanson was a turn-of-the-century produce wholesaler who founded frozen-food giant C.A. Swanson & Sons Co., and later under the leadership of her brothers, Gilbert C. and W. Clarke, the company developed the TV dinner. Swanson & Sons merged with Campbell Soup Co. in 1955.